Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shame on NFL, Cleveland Browns and the Media

One of the most egregious acts committed by an NFL team happened yesterday. But as the saying goes, “If a tree falls down in the woods and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?”

Actually, that doesn’t apply. This tree fell down in the middle of Times Square and nobody is outraged. I’m talking about the Cleveland Browns suspension of mercurial tight end Kellen Winslow for speaking out against the organization.

On the surface, this seems right. A hothead player with a history of saying stupid things (my favorite rant of all time) speaking out against his losing team. A malcontent getting what he deserved.

This is something different. Winslow was hospitalized with his second staph infection as a member of the Browns, one of many players who have been stricken with the illness in Cleveland. Whatever the reason their players keep getting staph, the Browns aren’t doing enough to prevent it.

Joe Jurevicius, one of the team’s best players last year, is missing the season because of it. LeCharles Bentley, once a high-prized free agent signing by the browns, is in danger of losing his career and life because of staph.

The team, trying to protect their image, had Winslow stay silent on his injury, which led to rampant speculation. Angered that his reputation was being soiled, he spoke out. The tipping point was when GM Phil Savage didn’t call to check on him while he was hospitalized, while members of the front office were pressing him for silence.

Yet, the Browns had the gall to suspend Winslow for speaking out, when they clearly don’t have their stuff together.

Another group of people who deserve to be criticized is the mainstream media. So far, I’ve only seen one article criticizing the Browns. On Sportscenter last night, John Clayton seemed to be criticizing Winslow in this.

Where is the media to stick up for him? You bash him when he says/does something stupid, he gives you good quotes anyway but you don’t do anything when he takes a stand for his health and the health of his teammates.

When Pacman Jones screwed up socially, there were dozens of articles criticizing the trouble young man. When players screw up, the media sounds off its horns like rush hour traffic in Manhattan. However, social injustices in the NFL by teams and the league against its players are as quiet as a fallen tree in Yellowstone.

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